Annie Bither-Terry: Raise awareness.
If all the world's a stage (and who would argue with Shakespeare?), then Willamette students are definitely players - especially when it comes to standing up for the rights of individuals. Whether you're staging a protest or staging a play, you'll have every chance to lend your voice to the causes that concern you most.
Just don't be surprised when you find yourself leading the charge. And don't be surprised when the Willamette community rallies behind you to support your efforts. "The best thing about Willamette are all the opportunities and the people who help you take advantage of those opportunities," says Annie Bither-Terry, a senior from Eagle River, Alaska. "There's so much support from the faculty, the administration and the student body."
She should know. As co-president of Willamette Students for Peace and Justice, Bither-Terry and five other students attended a vigil at a U.S. military training school that's been linked to human-rights abuses in Latin America. To help fund the trip to Ft. Benning, Ga., the students received donations from the Office of the President, the Office of the Chaplain and the Educational Programming Committee. They even collected $100 from a jar they put on the counter at the Bistro, our student-run coffeehouse. "We got tons and tons of support," recalls Bither-Terry, who was a sophomore at the time. "It was incredible."
Another incredible opportunity came her way when she received a $3,000 Carson Research Grant to write and direct her own play. Bither-Terry interviewed 57 people ranging in age from 8 to 83 before writing the play, which focuses on issues related to the human breast. She plans to stage the production this October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - and all the proceeds from the play will help fund breast cancer research.
"Raising awareness is the first step," says Bither-Terry, a French/anthropology major whose career interests range from teaching children with special needs to defending the rights of indigenous peoples. "I want the world to be a better place - and I'm a strong believer in the ability of one person to make a difference."